Area forums where residents were able to meet with their councillors and talk about local issues have been scrapped in favour of 'commuity alliances'

A community alliance is an informal network of local residents, voluntary groups and businesses who care about the place they live and work.

Members of the 'alliance' work to improve things in their area and make it better for them and those they care about.

The aim of the project is to help communities to become sustainable and to equip them with the skills, knowledge and support to be self-sufficient.

The project is being rolled out in a phased approach starting in Bradshaw, Halliwell, Horwich South and Blackrod, Kearsley, Rumworth, Smithills and Tonge with the Haulgh.

Each area has its own area co-ordinator that is on hand with advice, support and guidance on connecting with new people.

This could be agencies and services who can assist alliances and the area co-ordinator can help to make those links.

Residents can get involved by  joining one of the launch meetings in one of the areas above.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Nick Peel, said: “I’m really pleased with the new ways of working and the amount of effort that has gone into developing this programme of work.

“When we consulted with the public, over 80 per cent of people agreed with the proposal so we went with it and gave residents what they wanted, while taking into account their concerns.


“As part of the community alliances model, ward councillors will work closely with residents to empower them to take action themselves, while working towards the Vision 2030 outcomes.”



To find out more about Community Alliances and find local Area Co-ordinators visit

Cllr Debbie Newall has previously called for Area Forums to be brought back but says she’s been encouraged by how the community alliance has worked so far in Kearsley, one of the pilot areas.

She said: “I wanted area forums, I do believe that you can’t do anything better as a councillor that stand and speak to residents.

“But Kearsley has been one of the pilot areas and its being working quite well with community alliances, with councillors working directly with groups, encouraging them to come forward and to get funding and to meet each other, because networking is really important.”

The Bolton News: The new Community Alliances will be set up all across BoltonThe new Community Alliances will be set up all across Bolton (Image: Newsquest)

She added: “Its all very good stuff but with regards to area forums, I will always make the case for them, the ones we had in Kearsley were always really well attended.

“The community alliance is a good, positive thing and I can see a lot of benefits coming from them.

“But as far as area forums go, I’m sorry they’re not being brought back.”

The last area forum meetings were held more than three years ago and have not been revived since the pandemic.

But at a council meeting last month, leader Cllr Nick Peel said that he hoped community alliances would prove to be a “fresh approach” compared to what he called the “outdated” Area Forum model.